"The way we are born influences our whole lives." ~ Alyona Lebedeva Not only does the way we're born have influence but what happens immediately after birth directly affects a babies ability to make his or her transition into the living, breathing world. Failure to allow mother nature to run it's course can (and too often does) result in babies needing assistance in transitioning and beginning to breathe on their own.
I'm sure this is going to be a controversial post. I'm writing it because we need change. We need families to educate themselves and to want and expect a gentle birth. Not only for themselves but for their babies. Our babies deserve it. Women deserve it.
We place so much value in our baby's first moments... their first smile, the first time they roll over, their first steps. So why isn't more value placed in our baby's first breathe? Isn't that the most important first your baby will ever have? Too many babies are being born into chaos. And way too many babies are being subjected to undue stress during labor from unnecessary interventions. All mothers, all families want what is best for their babies. We want them to be healthy, happy, safe, loved... Shouldn't we ensure these things during the labor process? And especially as they are born?
This is a short video of pictures taken during a home birth. Yes, I know home birth is not for everyone. I'm not posting it because it's a home birth. I'm posting it because I want to showcase baby's first moments. Baby's first breath and the first hour or so after the birth. Notice the baby is given to Mama immediately. There is no suctioning, no rubbing. Baby is given to Mama and learns to breath by listening and syncing its breath with hers. After baby has been with Mama for those first precious minutes (and after the cord has stopped pulsating on it's own) the cord is clamped and cut and the baby is handed to Dad, who is also shirtless, to bond with him, skin to skin. Can you think of anything more sweet than the first time you hold your newborn baby skin to skin? This is the first time you bond in the physical world with your sweet baby. Another precious first that cannot be replaced. After the baby has breastfed, probably at least 30 minutes to an hour after the birth, the midwife measures and weighs the baby and does the overall check.
Now, here is a video of what happens to babies immediately after birth in hospitals. (Not all hospitals. This is usually what happens when a baby is born with an OB vs. a midwife and midwives do work at hospitals in the U.S.)
Chilling isn't it? It makes my stomach hurt, my chest tighten to watch this. To be honest I can't even watch the whole thing. Personally I feel that most mothers don't want this for their babies. Whether you have a natural birth or a medicated one, your instincts when your baby is born are to hold your baby, to soothe it's cry (if they are crying), to kiss them, to hug them, to tell them you love them... No mother wants to watch from the other side of the room as this is being done to her newborn baby. No mother wants this to be her baby's first glimpse of the world, right?
Everything the hospital does immediately after birth from clamping the cord as soon as the baby is born to weighing the baby to measuring and doing the baby's footprints... it can all wait. It's done immediately in hospitals because they are on the clock. They are "working". Getting their "job" done. This is your baby we are talking about. This is your birth.
Whether your have your baby in a hospital or at home should not matter as to how you and your baby are treated. Especially however, if you have your baby in the hospital, help make birth better, safer and more gentle for babies and mothers. Educate yourself. Follow your instincts. Listen to your heart. Give your baby the best first they will ever have. Sweet, gentle cuddles with his Mama. Kisses, hugs, and love.
Please share this with any woman you care about so that we can help women and babies get the labor and the birth they deserve.